IIT-Madras enables crowdsourcing to track waterlogging in Chennai

The students-team includes V Tharun (project lead), Akshay Pratap Singh, Aditya K, Aswin Beckham, and Hamsavardhan D.

CHENNAI: IIT-Madras has enabled a crowdsourcing method to track waterlogging in Chennai through WhatsApp: +1 (415) 523-8886 and website: https://chennaiwaterlogging.org/ to enable the residents share information and photographs of affected areas, the institute said on Thursday.

The Institute, which is collaborating with Greater Chennai Corporation, Public Works Department, and other government departments on the initiative, said this year, the faculty of IIT-Madras and its students have enabled the update to be shared in English and Tamil through WhatsApp. Users\public could report the flooded location and water depth, as well as add photos of inundated sites with a description across the Chennai region as frequently as possible.

Prof Balaji Narasimhan, Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras, who leads the team of faculty and students from IIT-M Centre For Innovation in implementing this project, said the initiative is aimed at developing a repository of flooding/waterlogging information from as much extent of the drainage basins of Chennai as possible and as frequently as possible from the same area. Crowdsourcing data through the website would help in calibration and validation of real-time flood forecast, said Narasimhan, who is working with students from IIT-CFI’s WebOps and Blockchain Club.

The students-team includes V Tharun (project lead), Akshay Pratap Singh, Aditya K, Aswin Beckham, and Hamsavardhan D.

''This information is critical as we work with the stormwater drainage models and flood inundation models to calibrate and validate them and to get more confidence in our models,'' said Narasimhan. Such models with a good level of confidence would help to hand-hold and provide guidance to the government for conceiving and implementing flood alleviation projects across the problem areas, he said in a release here.

Information obtained from the public is gathered on a real-time flood map. The data thus obtained would be utilised to improve disaster preparedness and response in communities by gathering, sorting, and presenting data on flooding reports.

Elaborating on the new developments of this initiative, Tharun said the data collection system of this website is integrated with WhatApps data. ''The website has a check for users who are not comfortable with English and can switch languages. Since we are implementing it in Chennai, we have included Tamil,'' he said.

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